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Method and layout linking from and to another vendor's survey

I am considering using LightHouse Studio to design and host max diff, CBC, and/or ACBC studies. Only the max diff/CBC/ACBC portion of the survey would be hosted in Sawtooth's hosting platform. The portions of the survey both before and after max diff/CBC/ACBC would be programmed and hosted by an external vendor - so this vendor would need to send/link respondents to the Sawtooth hosting platform and then respondents would need to be sent back to the external vendor's survey after completing the max diff/CBC/ACBC .  

I have not used Sawtooth's hosting platform in the past and do not have experience programming and hosting surveys - so have two questions:

(1) For a beginner, what is the simplest way to manage the link to/from the external vendor's survey and where can I find step-by-step instructions? Assume that a unique respondent ID will need to be passed from the external vendor to Sawtooth and then back to the external vendor - so data can be matched up later for analysis.

(2) The survey layout will need to match/be the same for both the Sawtooth-hosted and vendor-hosted surveys (that is,  same background, colors, fonts, etc.) so that the look/feel of the survey is seamless/identical for respondents for both vendor and Sawtooth survey portions. For a beginner who does not know HTML, etc. - is there a simple way to match survey layouts (for example, can the vendor send a template that can be inserted/pasted into LightHouse Studio)?

Thank you.
asked May 7, 2019 by anonymous

1 Answer

0 votes
Question 1

Linking to/from most survey platforms is pretty easy, and almost all survey platforms and panel vendors provide a way to do this. However, the ease of linking depends on the vendor, and while we can explain how to set it up on our side, we can't provide much help on the other platform's requirements or capabilities.

Typically, panel providers need to pass a minimum of a unique respondent ID. Let's suppose for a moment that their respondent ID is referred to in their system as "PanelID". (I've seen many different codes over the years - rid, id, q, p, pid, etc. The name may be different but the concept is the same!)

In our software, there is a "Start Page" where you tell our system how you want people to enter the study. In the example, we'll set up a password variable called "PanelID" to capture the unique respondent ID they want to pass in. Note that we could have called ours anything we wanted - what we call the variable doesn't need to be the same as what they called the variable, but it is often less confusing if the common identifying variable has the same name across all datasets.

Also on the "Start Page", we can either pre-specify which "PanelID" values are acceptable, or we can go to the "Settings" tab and tell the software to "Allow respondents to define their own passwords." In this case, since we likely don't know ahead of time what the "PanelID" will be, we'll want the "PanelID" to be set on the fly, not by the respondent but by the originating survey, by means of the link they create to connect a respondent to our part of the survey.

At this point, we're prepared to have respondents enter our survey, but we haven't yet created a way to get them back to the survey once they're done with the conjoint. For this, you're going to need information from the originating survey provider regarding what URL and data they want passed back to them. Suppose they indicate that they want respondents returned to "http:\\www.survey.com\index.aspx?project=xyz123&PanelID=VALUE&status=101", where "VALUE" needs to be replaced with whatever we recorded as their PanelID in our system. To do this, we'll add a "Terminate/Link" question. Let's call it "TermComplete". Don't enter anything in the question text tab. Instead, click on the Settings tab. Check both the "Terminate Respondent" box and the "Link to a Questionnaire or Website" box.  Copy the URL they provided into the Web Address (URL) box, and then replace the word "VALUE" with "[% GetValue(PanelID)%]".  The final link in the Web Address (URL) box would therefore be

http:\\www.survey.com\index.aspx?project=xyz123&PanelID=[% GetValue(PanelID)%]&status=101

When the survey is live, the [% %] will execute a script called GetValue that will recall the value of "PanelID" and put it into the URL. So, if the respondent's PanelID=xb32dyz123, then the link would actually point to http:\\www.survey.com\index.aspx?project=xyz123&PanelID=xb32dyz123&status=101.

When you upload the survey to our hosting system, the process ends with a page that displays the links to the survey. One of these is labeled "One Click Link Example". You'll need to provide this link to your external vendor, as this will be the link they use to redirect people into our survey.

If you need help with this process, please feel free to call or email our tech support department. We assist people with linking like this frequently, and would be happy to help you with your specific linking needs.

Question 2

Matching look and feel is a harder issue. The vendor may be able to give us information about what their styles use with regard to font/colors/etc., but since most styles rely on customized CSS labels, it is unlikely that they will be able to send us anything directly usable in our system unless they are also using our system to do the remainder of your survey. Your best bet is to select one of our styles that is similar in look and layout to your other survey, and then modify the CSS to match as closely as possible. However, this requires some knowledge of CSS, HTML, etc. We would be happy to assist you in this effort, but this is a service we'd need to charge for.

Best regards,
Aaron Hill
answered May 7, 2019 by Aaron Hill Gold Sawtooth Software, Inc. (12,245 points)